How to teach your children gratitude during the giving season
10 November, 2021
As December fast approaches, so too does the season of excessive gifting – and it can be a lot for a child to handle. To avoid the Christmas crazies and ensure your child is grateful, not spoiled, try these tips.
There are few better ways to appreciate the life you have than helping those less fortunate. There are so many ways to volunteer, too, especially around Christmas! You could help out at a local shelter, do work for a non-profit or put on a fundraising event yourself. For smaller, yet equally important, charitable acts, why not canvas your area to see if anyone needs help over the holidays? You might find that your elderly neighbour really needs someone to help with their grocery shopping, or your child’s teacher is going through a tough time.
Random acts of kindness
Teach your children the importance of kindness, not only at Christmas, but all year round. Make sure you practice random acts of kindness in front of your child so that they see the impact they can have, and are better able to identify opportunities for kindness in the future. A few ideas you could try include paying for the coffee or food of the person behind you, paying a generous tip, helping someone who is struggling (perhaps they look lost, or are having trouble carrying something?) or taking the time to chat to a stranger.
Be good neighbours
To create positive change, you have to think global, act local – sometimes, really local! There’s no better way to spread some Christmas cheer than by doing a good deed for your neighbours, be it mowing their lawn, baking them something or simply sticking your head over the fence for a chat. It shows your children the importance of taking care of the people around you, and they will be reminded of that every time they see your neighbour.
Discover new people and places
As your child experiences new places and people, they will become more aware of everything they have to be grateful for. Read books and watch movies that will expose your child to lifestyles that are different from their own, and give them opportunities to interact with people from other backgrounds. This could mean enrolling them in extracurricular activities or taking them to a playground that is further from your house. You never know who they will meet and what they will learn!
Show the love in other ways
Does your child’s Christmas morning disappointment really stem from the number of presents they’ve unwrapped, or does the reason run deeper? It’s not uncommon for children to feel unloved when they have fewer presents to open than their siblings – even after you’ve explained that their monetary value is the same. Knowing this, it’s important that you show them plenty of love in other ways. Take the time to sit with them and set up their new toy, read their new book or take photos of them in their new clothes to show your child that their worth isn’t defined by the number of presents they get to open on Christmas morning.